Cloning: A study in news production

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In retrospect, the 1997 media furor over the cloning of Dolly the sheep was remarkable not so much for any lasting effects on opinion or policy it might have produced as for changing the frame of public debate about biotechnology generally to one that explicitly incorporated ethical considerations. This essay discusses the nature and implications of this shift, based on the author's study of elite US newspaper coverage of this controversy up to and just beyond Dolly's momentary fame. While ethical considerations found their way into mainstream media discourse about biotechnology in ways that had previously been uncommon and that may have had significant influence on the subsequent history of the debate, this happened with little visible long-term disruption of "status quo" institutional control over outcomes. The cloning debate may even have diverted public attention from some aspects of the biotechnology controversy at the same time as it created new public space for ethical debate over others.


Bioethics; Biotechnology – Public opinion; Cloning – Public opinion; Dolly (Sheep)


Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Biotechnology | Communication | Journalism Studies | Science and Technology Studies

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